The International Community’s Response to 9/11/11

Posted in: Iowa City Owl World News
As the tenth anniversary of September 11, 2001, passes, it seems the fragile and politically correct analysis of each and every media publication related to the attacks is wearing away. While major news sites maintain their focus on the heroes of 9/11, the military abroad, and the families left facing devastating losses after the attacks, some are moving away from the traditional "salute to America’s heroes" stories.

Instead, opinion pieces with titles such as "I Am a Muslim Because of September 11" are published; journalists scramble to think of compelling headlines as they describe the horrors of the wars America is waging in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. History professors, economists, sociologists, political figures, and leaders of NGOs write lengthy editorials outlining what led to the terrorist attacks, and how the world must recognize its mistakes or be doomed to repeat them. A fine line is being walked: Twitter posts and comments on CNN articles describe heroic actions by New York’s firefighters and American military members, only to face criticism from those who say heroic actions are taken every day by freedom fighters in North Africa and the Middle East, yet their actions go unnoticed.

Americans who practice Islam are taking a firmer stand, with the support of Muslims worldwide. Their anger can be seen in every corner of the web as the mantra “All Muslims are not terrorists” continues to spread. During a ceremony held in the UK on Sunday, 60 Muslim protestors gathered and set fire to a US flag during one moment of silence. What was once sacred territory is no longer safe from the sting of political statements.

A trend away from emotion and towards harsh reality can certainly be seen in the responses of the international community, as this year brings the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. In the hours and days following the initial attacks in 2001, cities and nations from Beijing to Moscow to New Zealand responded with condolences and fervent statements condemning the evils of terrorism, some even calling for national days of mourning. While some countries with close ties to America—the UK, for example—held ceremonies to honor firefighters and police forces, others seemed to focus more on their own problems.

It seems that much of the international sentimentality found in those initial responses has begun to fade, and this year many nations focused on solving the concrete problems at hand, and on preventing repeats of tragic events like the attacks on the twin towers. Security across the globe was heightened, but many regions were preoccupied with their own serious issues. Famine and drought continue to ravage one section of Africa, while another section is torn apart by revolution and civil war. Europe is reeling from the shock of terrorist attacks in places like Norway and Russia, as the European Union struggles to salvage their economy.

September 11th will never be forgotten, and will stand the test of time; history books will refer to that date as one which changed the world, lumping it together with events such as Pearl Harbor and Hitler’s invasion of Poland. But a time comes when the world is forced to move on, and deal with today’s problems rather than dwelling on the past. It seems that time is now, and in today’s society the international community would rather spend its energies discussing solutions to problems such as terrorism. Perhaps we as a society have finally overcome the shock which followed the attack; perhaps terrorism has become a part of the international vocabulary and the horror that immediately followed on September 12, 2001, has been numbed by the pain of so many lives lost in wars and terrorist attacks since.
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